What is the Canine Influenza Virus?
Canine Influenza (H3N8 virus), a mutation of the Equine Influenza Virus, is an influenza type-A virus. Although it is the same type of virus that causes human influenza, the Canine Influenza Virus does not affect humans.
Clinical signs are similar to Kennel Cough (Bordetella) and, in most cases, the virus is not life-threatening. Dogs that have passed away during outbreaks did not do so because of the flu virus, but rather pneumonia.
Canine Influenza can be diagnosed in three ways:
- Viral Isolation — This method is costly and extremely difficult to perform.
- Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) — This is a simple test only requiring a nasal or throat swab. However, this test must be done very early in the onset as by the time a canine is presenting with clinical signs of the H3N8 virus, the virus is no longer being shed.
- Serum Titers — Titers must be paired (meaning one must be performed initially and another performed two to three weeks after the first titer to show a rise in the titer to confirm the disease), but by this time most canines are recovered.